Don’t blame others for a bad hire. Look in the mirror.
We all know the saying about subpar employees: One bad apple ruins the barrel.
But if that’s true, why do we as pizzeria owners tolerate the bad apples on our staffs? Obviously, no one wants to have malcontents bringing down morale and performance, but sometimes bad behaviors develop over time and problems don’t become clear until it is too late.
Look in the Mirror
As easy as it is to blame that employee for their actions and attitude, I know all roads ultimately lead back to the employer —me. Sometimes, a bad apple simply was a bad hire. In that case, maybe I missed a red flag during the interview. Perhaps because we needed an employee so badly, I overlooked how many jobs they blew through in the past few years.
Even if I’m not the one who hired the employee, I might carry some of the blame for the misstep. Perhaps I didn’t properly train my team and my managers on how to hire, what warning signs to look for during an interview, and what type of potential employee to avoid.
Set the Example
You should consider the overall behaviors in the pizzeria. I firmly believe that you get what you tolerate. Take timeliness as an example — do your employees show up on time? Are they five minutes early for each shift? Are they five to 10 minutes late for each shift, or do they literally show up whenever they want. Think about those questions. More importantly, think about how you react to each situation.
Also consider that your employees often mirror your behavior. So, if you are a few minutes late or worse for each shift, or even just a couple times a week, then they might believe they know what they can get away with. Nobody respects someone who throws rocks at glass houses, so it starts and ends with you.
Stay Out of the Pool
The same goes for gossip. Nothing kills camaraderie and teamwork quicker than gossip. Whether it’s gabbing about who is lazy and didn’t take out the trash last night or who is dating whom, by the time the gossip gets back to the subjects of the chatter, it’s never the same thing that was originally said. This Telephone Game is often very hurtful and makes them feel worse. Most of us have been there — it’s not great.
Once again, if it is something that you put up with, it will fester. We have a saying at each managers meeting: Don’t (expletive) in the pool, and don’t swim in the pool. It means that even if you can’t completely stop gossip, don’t partake in it, and do not stir it up. It will make it easier when you try to tamp down these damaging behaviors.
Manager meetings are the perfect place to talk about what is acceptable, what is not, and to share strategies on improving morale. How to conduct an effective manager meeting is what we’ll discuss in our next installment.
NICK BOGACZ is the founder and president of Caliente Pizza & Draft House in Pittsburgh. Instagram: @caliente_pizza